If you have a thing for green cars but only have space for one vehicle in the garage, a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) is your best bet on this auto market. At their best, PHEVs allow you to cover more than 75% of your trips on pure electric power and offer well over 300 miles of range for that weekend you want to make a long road trip. You have options.
Pure electric vehicle technology is not quite there yet. Even if you have a range-topping Tesla, you won’t be able to crack 300 miles on a full battery, leaving you with the prospect of locating a charger and waiting while you juice your battery. If you can’t find a SuperCharger in the vicinity, you’ll be waiting several hours to get back on the road with significant range.
While we love electric vehicles for their superior green and performance specs, we love plug-in hybrids even more for their versatility and are excited about the new slate of options hitting the U.S. market late in 2015. Here are five highly anticipated PHEVs set to debut in America.
1. BMW X5 xDrive40e
While it might sound like a lab experiment, the 2016 X5 xDrive40e is easy enough to understand once its green specs are detailed. BMW quotes about 13 miles of electric range on its upcoming “Sport Activity Vehicle,” while power specs are impressive: 308 horsepower, 332 pounds-feet of torque. This X5 will get you there with plenty of oomph and, when taking short trips, won’t use a bit of gasoline doing it. BMW says it will arrive in the U.S. before fall ends.
2. Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The German luxury brands are usually ready to counterpunch rivals as soon as they strike, and Audi is not letting BMW or Mercedes get ahead of it on the plug-in hybrid front the next model year. The 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, the brand’s first plug-in on the U.S .market, has the makings of a hit with electric capabilities in the low-20-mile range and a price tag of $37,900 before incentives. You can already configure this variant of the most affordable Audi on the automaker’s website. It will be in showrooms soon.
3. 2016 Chevrolet Volt
General Motors has shown a very real commitment to plug-in EVs and hybrids in 2015, and the 2016 Chevy Volt may be its best green car yet. Featuring 53 miles of electric range — the most of any PHEV by a landslide — the next-gen Volt will be able to cover 420 miles altogether between its gas and electric powertrain. Chevrolet estimates drivers will be able to cover over 90% of trips on electric power alone and will need to fill the gas tank about once every 1,000 miles. It will start at $33,995 when it arrives in the fall.
4. Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid
There are currently only two plug-in midsize hybrids on the U.S. market, but the 2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV will change that soon. With electric range projected at 23 miles and a total range of 605 miles with a full tank of gas, you won’t experience any range anxiety in this model. Set for a fall debut, the Korean brand’s first plug-in model on the U.S. market should be popular in this high-volume segment, but we’ll wait for pricing to give it a full appraisal.
5. Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid
In the compact luxury segment, it’s tough to find a better car than Mercedes-Benz C-Class models, and there will be a plug-in edition added to the U.S. lineup this fall. The 2016 C350 plug-in will get around 18 miles of range by Mercedes’s estimate, and it will have a robust 275 horsepower along with 445 pounds-feet of torque available. All things considered, the C-Class plug-in looks like a hot addition to the plug-in segment. Pricing has not been set.
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